Debbie Reynolds Almost Changed Her Mind About Forgiving Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor’s affair with Eddie Fisher nearly ended her friendship with Debbie Reynolds forever. Reynolds and Fisher were married with two babies (Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher) when her husband left her for her best friend, and the actors didn’t talk to each other for years because of it.

One fateful day—long after both of the women had divorced Fisher—Reynolds and Taylor were on the same cruise and ended up reconciling. But Reynolds almost didn’t let it happen.

1958: American singer Eddie Fisher, wearing a tuxedo, stands with arm around his wife, American actor Debbie Reynolds (R) and smiles while looking at British-born actor Elizabeth Taylor, smoking a cigarette, Las Vegas, Nevada. The next year Fisher left Reynolds and married Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds|Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor were on the same cruise in 1966

Reynolds and Taylor both married several times. In fact, Taylor was just as famous for her many marriages as she was for her acting. The Cleopatra star got married eight times in her life to seven different men. She married and divorced Richard Burton, her Cleopatra co-star, twice. As for Reynolds, she got married three times. Her second marriage was to Harry Karl in 1960.

In 1966, Reynolds and Taylor coincidentally ended up on the same trans-Atlantic cruise to Europe on the Queen Elizabeth. Reynolds was married to Karl at the time, and Taylor to Burton. The women hadn’t been friends since the “insane tabloid feeding frenzy” that was their love triangle with Fisher, and they both had publicly slammed each other in the press in recent years. Suffice it to say being stuck on the same cruise ship for several days was not their dream vacation.

Mike Todd, Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds | PA Images via Getty Images
Mike Todd, Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds | PA Images via Getty Images

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Debbie Reynolds almost didn’t get on a cruise ship because Elizabeth Taylor would be there

When Reynolds boarded the ship, she saw a bunch of luggage being brought on and wondered whose it was.

“I said, ‘Who has all that luggage?’ And they said, ‘That’s Elizabeth Taylor’s luggage,'” Reynolds said, according to People. “I almost changed my mind and didn’t go.”

She decided to power through the awkwardness, however. And as it turned out, both of the women were interested in putting their drama to bed. Reynolds and Taylor exchanged notes and ended up meeting in Reynolds’ room to hash things out.

Elizabeth Taylor (L) and Debbie Reynolds (R) in a promotional image for 'These Old Broads' a two-hour comedy written by Carrie Fisher | Timothy White/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images
Elizabeth Taylor (L) and Debbie Reynolds (R) in a promotional image for ‘These Old Broads’ a two-hour comedy written by Carrie Fisher | Timothy White/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

RELATED: Eddie Fisher’s Affair With Elizabeth Taylor ‘Literally Ruined His Career,’ Says Carrie Fisher’s Brother

Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor got drunk together after reconciling their friendship

Reynolds had never blamed Taylor for Fisher’s abandonment of their family. She felt that “you can’t make a man leave, you can’t make him do something he doesn’t want to do.”

“He wanted to be her lover, so he left and he was,” she said. “He was the selfish one. She just gave him what he wanted.”

But she still wanted to know how Taylor could hurt her so much. After all, they had been close friends since high school.

“She came to the stateroom and we had drinks, and we had dinner together,” Reynolds recalled of their cruise ship meeting. She noted that an actual apology wasn’t given in this exchange, but Taylor did admit her affair with Fisher was wrong.

“At that time, in my cabin, before we went to dinner, we both made our little [amends]. I said, ‘Why in the world would you want him anyway?’ She said, ‘Well, I don’t know why I did it, and I certainly was wrong. But look what I have now!'” Reynolds said. “I said, ‘Well, lucky you!’ And that’s how that got over.”

Decades later, on the set of These Old Broads in 2000, Taylor unexpectedly apologized to Reynolds, her co-star on the film. The apology, as Todd wrote in his 2018 memoir My Girls, was unprompted and tearful.